Sunday, September 25, 2016

Finding me elsewhere on the internet

"Sorry I've been posting here less lately..." is something every blogger must say from time to time, and I'm saying it now. I'm finding this format kind of intimidating to post in, though I've got the seeds of ideas for a few longform posts. I'm not going to entirely retire this blog, but I want people to know where they can (virtually) hang out with me on a more casual basis in between posts :) is a mix of reblogs of things I think are cool, chatter about the Myst games/fandom, small life updates, and stuff-I-make-related posts. You can follow with a Tumblr account, or via RSS.

  @PurpleshinyRiv is my Twitter handle. Pretty similar mixture of stuff as my Tumblr activity, but in bite-sized chunks.

 I'm keeping Facebook/G+ mainly for people I've met at least once in real life. If we know each other but you don't know how to find me there, let me know!

 And finally, if you're just watching my website for Myst-related jewelry announcements, you can sign up for my Myst-related email newsletter to be the first to find out when I have new stuff for sale :)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A big batch of pendants for the Unwritten RPG Kickstarter

This is definitely the most copies of a single design I’ve ever made. I’m still kind of boggling at the size of this pile of shinies that I somehow created! I’m glad to be done so I can ship these off to the Unwritten folks to send to their Kickstarter backers (and artists/co-creators!) ^_^

(For those not familiar with Myst Online/Uru, the design on the pendants appears as a floor mosaic in one of the buildings in the game.)

I’ve learned a lot about how I work while finishing this project—I do things burstily (and that’s OK!), in batches of 8ish things at a time, 1 batch/week is a pretty sensible pace although more can be done in an overlapping fashion if need be. I figured out a lot of useful fiddly etching things, and an all-in-one design for the bail that doesn't require soldering--definitely a win for mass-production.

And I realized that maybe instead of worrying about not being able to make as many fannish things as there are fans (and feeling like a failure for potentially leaving some people disappointed), I can focus on the awesomeness of making things in the first place. On how every time I make a tangible artifact from this quirky little universe we love and another fan gets to have it, that universe shifts closer to ours, and the world is a better (dorkier, shinier) place.

I’m going on vacation in a little over a week, but when I get back at the end of the month I have a lot of ideas about making fannish things out of metal more regularly :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Oh hai, internet!

I have not been making much this summer. The biggest reason: I moved to a new house! So I lost access to the basement laboratory workspace. And making fell behind in priority to things like setting up the kitchen and bedroom, getting bookshelves to put all our books in, etc.

But I've started making progress on this little workspace-corner in the apartment. The whole front room is going to become an awesome office/sewing room/jewelry making/yoga space for me and my wife. Oh right, I got married also!

I also went to Burning Man for the first time, which was amazing and hugely inspirational. It makes me want to make things!

Stay tuned for snapshots of the workspace-in-progress and tales of making :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Things about batch-production

Right now, I'm in the middle of getting a big pile of Riven crests ready to go. I don't usually work in big batches, but I'm discovering all kinds of useful things about making many copies at once.

When I'm making 30 necklace bails, I can't help but notice the places where I slow down. (Having to dig through a pile of tools to find the right one. Alternating between two different pairs of pliers instead of using just one. Using a saw when heavy-duty wire cutters would work just as well. Stuff like that.) And sometimes I can figure out how to route around those issues so that I can zoom through the pile! I would never notice the little inefficiencies working on one thing at a time in isolation--if I noticed at all, I'd probably dismiss it as unimportant, even though the delays can add up over time.

Smoothing out the rough bits
When I'm making 30 of something, I can't rely on any techniques that hurt my hands/wrists/back, tire me out unreasonably, or make me really annoyed. I might lean on some of them for a one-off piece, thinking "just this once..." but in a big project like this one, everything has to be sustainable, or I won't be able to finish. Instead of transferring my etching design by laboriously burnishing every disc, I'm learning to work in sets of 9 using a mostly hands-off process involving big clamps and an oven. In the long run, this mindset will help me with everything I make! The more places I can find smoother techniques, the easier it is to get to the interesting bits of creating without burning myself out.

Rapid Iteration
OK, "Rapid Iteration" sounds like some buzwordy nonsense from a Silicon Valley startup or something, but here's what I mean: if you're playing a video game and your character dies at a tricky bit that's right next to a savepoint, you're going to master that tricky bit much more handily than if the savepoint is ten screens away. Because you get to try over and over with each minute timing nuance fresh in your mind. It's a similar deal when I'm working on a batch of the same component. I can more easily avoid mistakes and come up with elegant solutions to things.

This guy is one of my bite-sized side projects.
Click here to see it in my shop!
There's a different sense of accomplishment that comes with accumulating a pile of 30 components than that of finishing a single object from start to finish. I'm a fan of both, and I'm working on keeping some small, easily-completed projects in the works along with my Giant Batch Of Doom. But there's no denying that gazing upon a mountain of pieces--even when they're just incomplete parts, an intermediate step in the process--can make you feel like a rock star. Look at all those bails! So many!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hey, something purple and shiny!

My experiments with color have brought forth the first of what I hope will be a series of bold, exoplanet-oasis-inspired necklaces.

Purple oasis, available in my Etsy shop.
I can't wait to make more of these--there's so much to explore. Blends of colors, different textures and depths, adding more metal to frame the pool, and experiments with silk cord. If this is something that looks like your kind of thing, don't hesitate to check out my shop!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Coming soonish: Riven Crest pendants!

Coming soonish: Riven Crest pendants
by ~rivenwanderer
I have permission from Cyan to sell these! What I'm still working on is the process for making them in small batches rather than one at a time. They're red brass (a copper-rich brass alloy) that I etch, then flame-patina, selectively remove the patina on the raised areas, and polish.

I'd like to know who's interested in buying them--not to take preorders, but to get a rough idea of how many to make. They'll be $45 for the "full package" (with an antique-looking leather cord and nifty locking magnetic clasp) or $25 for just the disc (for DIY projects, attaching to journals, costuming, etc, and I'm happy to drill some holes for attaching to jump rings--this is the way to go if you want to use your own chain instead of the leather cord).

These are 1.5 inches in diameter, which so far is the smallest that the detail still shows up well. I make no promises about trying to make them any smaller, but might be convinced if there's interest.

So if you're interested in having one of these, let me know! I'll post here again when they're actually available :)